Monday, August 22, 2005

I Loves Me Some Science

Positive proof of a Dimensional Transition to the Other World. I'm not surprised you can't see it, you miserable cynic.

Yesterday, in the course of a lovely late-summer Sunday, during a visit from my dear sister and niece, through the agency of a completely accidental meeting and chat with its former owner, I discovered that the 1780's log cabin that serves as our den was, some thirty years ago, the scene of a horrifying shotgun murder-suicide. The fella, whose name I haven't yet gleaned, generously spreading the joy to those less able (or willing) than he, offed first his cat, and then himself. The body was found later by a local farmer who still lives nearby.

Who cleaned up the gore is anybody's guess. But they did a sovereign job; not a speck or splash have I been able to find.

And believe me, I've been looking.

After dinner, over dessert on the screen porch, thrilled as only a dedicated ghoul can be, I announced my gleeful discovery to six faces, each to some degree rapt. But just as there are different attitudes toward life's vagaries, various, too, were the attitudes that greeted my bloodthirsty recitation. I might theorize that the closer one feels to one's own demise, the less vulnerable one becomes to such revelations. Certainly my audients closest in time to their own births were the most horrified. The adults were able to achieve some level of detachment from the news; the young 'uns were (I've come to regret) chilled to the core with the understanding that someone had reached such a pass of despair that he'd seen no way out but to blow his own head clean off in the selfsame cheerful place they now enjoyed their Neapolitan ice cream and Pepperidge Farm cookies. No shells, no exoskeletons, had time endowed these youngsters against such horror.

I believe ghosts may have been foremost in their minds. I have noticed that Betty and Freddie have both given the den -- ordinarily the Mecca for televisual transport -- the widest of all possible berths since my revelation.

Which is why it was so fortuitous that this morning a lovely friend sent me a link to the best unintentionally hilarious web site I've seen in quite some time. The International Ghost Hunters Society offers a "Certified Ghost Researcher home study course [that] is the most comprehensive course available on the Internet." The offering apparently consists in its entirety of a rather unprepossessing CD-ROM. Splendidly incisive as the home-study course doubtless is, it is their Free Photo Gallery that most beguiles us. (You have to scroll past the enormous banner ads.) The photos themselves are a collection of the castoffs of people's holiday snaps and family minutiae, sent in by hopeful punters seeking assurance that their utter incompetence as photographers might be better excused as a harbinger of extrasensory perception and communication with Other Worlds.

No one is more willing to validate this happy delusion than the site's proprietor, one Dr. Dave. It's his commentary that is the true entertainment here. No camera-light-leak is so obvious, no bouncing flashlight trail so howlingly self-evident, no mirror-caught flashbulb, no double exposure, no inadvertent reflection in intervening glass so blatantly obvious, that it can't be explained away so that the sober truth -- that the Expired hop around among us pretty much as thick as junebugs on a tomato -- might prevail.

Len [who sent in this photo] said, "I have been in the photography field for over 30 years. I have worked in darkrooms since 1974. I know what it takes to produce a digitally enhanced pic like this as well as in a conventional darkroom. This camera used to take this film image wasn't a very sophisticated one and I was the only one using this camera at the time. If someone sent me a pic like this without any background I would be skeptical, too....

Dr. Dave's Notes:
Len has confirmed that this is not a double exposed frame and he has not manipulated it in any way. I accept the Holmesian philosophy: When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. The skeptics prefer the principle of the Occam's razor: The simplest explanation is usually the correct one. In this case, the simplest explanation is double exposed frame, but Occam's razor fails to accont [sic; Dave's not one of history's proofreaders] for the testimony given by Len Bragg. This is one reason we support the Holmesian philosophy for evaluating photos.
God-DAMN! Science! I'm overcome by your crisp and pitiless logic!

This photo is from an even older cemetery by the name of Rosedale, Gladewater, Texas; clear night; 9:30 p.m., Nov. 2004. This shot was taken of a total black area of the cemetery."

Dr. Dave's Notes:
Our only explanation is ghost lights, if there is a natural explanation, I am not aware of what it would be.
I love you, Dr. Dave. Don't you ever let that dumb ol' Occam's Razor slice your self-confidence.

My children are no longer afraid to go into our den, having looked -- and gotten huge, satisfying belly-laffs -- at your Ectoplasmatic Analysis. They loves them some Science, now, too.


Employee of the Month said...


quit it.


quit it.


quit it. MOM!

Bobby Lightfoot said...

Holy shit. I don't know what's funnier. This macabre post, the dulcet crunchiness of the prose in which it is enveloped, the double-exposed picture with Dad wondering if the lens cap is on, or this comment from Employee.

His CAT???? Wha....? Wha' happen?

Cat was cheating on him. That's what it was. Happens all the time.

Jesus, I'm not sleeping in there. And I'm the POSTER CHILD for feeling close to my demise.

Maybe he capped the cat by mistake and couldn't live with the remorse.

Anonymous said...

I think your children's laughter at "ghosts" released the spirit of the headless-bloodless-man.

And I think this post released the spirit of the bloodless-cat.

Contact Dr. Dave with your findings.

Neil Shakespeare said...

Christ, Neddie! Once again you got me laughin' so hard I'm havin' to change my Depends every 30 seconds. I'm gonna have to do a piece called 'The Ghost of By Neddie Jingo!' Thanks for the laugh, dude.

Anonymous said...

Having reached a detente with the fundies that were earlier assailing those of us based in as much reality as a living history weekend allows, just this week I have been confronted with, and confounded by, a debate, discussion, and poll(!) of the most haunted sites on the 1812 circuit.

Equally amazing and dismaying, what other people choose to believe. Folks I otherwise respect(ed) have pulled out photo albums, and in all seriousness pointed to blurry shots of tombstones at night, expecting me to react as to a mighty talisman. I'll jot down Dr. Dave's URL for them...

Although, it is kind of spooky how I was explaining Occam's Razor to my eldest son just last night, and then awake to read of you having just such a discussion with yours. You're getting into my head, man...

See if you can guess which historic site is currently on top as the most eerie

Anonymous said...

This is why I link to the James Randi Educational Foundation on my site. There are more nutters with more wacky ideas in this world than are found in your limited, science-based philosophy.

Time now for a drink of Penta Water...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads-up on the Ghostweb site-- the folks at Metafilter are having a good time with it, too. Whooda thunk all those things I thought for sure were light leaks from my crappy K-1000 were actually spitits?